Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent

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Increased borrowing and spending in recent years have driven concerns Africa is heading towards a debt crisis. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has now brought the precarious fiscal situation in some countries into stark relief.

  • Extensive relief from international financial institutions and bilateral lenders will partially mitigate the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This will prevent the emergence of a regional sovereign risk crisis whereby a large number of African states default on their debt obligations.
  • Nonetheless, countries facing particularly severe economic challenges – such as Zambia, Angola and Mozambique – will likely continue to defer or renegotiate debt payments in the coming months.
  • Meanwhile, sovereign risks will rise in other countries from 2021 as their debt matures.

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent Brandspurng

Debt warnings

Since the early 2010s, countries across the region have sought the help of bilateral and multilateral lenders to finance ambitious infrastructure projects and have tapped into the international bond market to raise further funds. This borrowing has been accompanied in most areas by increased public spending on the social and healthcare sectors to address the needs of rapidly urbanising populations.

Where this has been accompanied by weak economic growth, pressure on fiscal sustainability has grown as countries struggle to balance limited revenues with debt repayment obligations.

The pandemic has tightened this pressure. Global supply and demand disruption weakened export revenue streams and interrupted economic activity in key sectors across the region, and many governments do not have the fiscal headroom to stimulate recovery. The IMF estimates that GDP in sub-Saharan Africa will contract by 3.2% in real terms in 2020.

Thin ice

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This has raised questions over the ability of many governments to service debt obligations, and these questions are being asked with ever-increasing urgency – particularly in those countries where gross government debt already dwarfs GDP. In 2020, international rating agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded five countries, including Angola and Zambia twice.

In July, it stated that the average debt-to-GDP ratio – a key measure of a state’s ability to repay its debts – across the 19 regional states for which it provides ratings had risen from 57% in 2019 to an expected 71% by the end of 2020. Fitch noted further that the median budget deficit across these states had risen from 4.9% in 2019 to an estimated 7.1% by the end of 2020.

Zambia on the brink

Zambia on 22 September announced plans to negotiate the restructuring of its debt, stating it would struggle to meet three upcoming repayment obligations (around USD 120m) on three Eurobonds totalling USD 3bn. It has since missed the first repayment, which matured on 14 October; the others are due on 30 January 2021 and 20 March 2021. To date, it has not been able to negotiate a deferment with its creditors, making it likely to officially default by 20 November.

This would be Africa’s first “COVID default”. Nonetheless, Zambia was already in a particularly perilous debt position before the pandemic. It is also one of the only countries not to benefit from the IMF’s emergency credit line funding, given its unsustainable debt profile and the multilateral lender’s concerns over its fiscal indiscipline.

Vulnerable economies

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Zambia’s fiscal woes have raised questions about other countries that went into the pandemic with high debt loads and have been hit hard by the commodities slump, including Angola and Mozambique. Angola’s debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to reach 121.3% in 2020, according to our strategic partner Oxford Economics. Its debt has climbed steeply in recent years, the result of both borrowings to support infrastructure development and of spending outstripping revenue following the oil price crash of 2014.

Meanwhile, Mozambique has not received donor funding since 2016, when it was revealed it had concealed more than USD 2bn of debt, on which it subsequently defaulted. Although less reliant on commodities, it continues to battle a large budget deficit. Fiscal pressures are expected to persist until revenues from liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects begin to flow around 2024. Its debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to reach 117.5% in 2020.

But no wider crisis

However, Angola has managed to negotiate its debt-servicing obligations effectively, indicating positive relationships with its main creditor China and its primary lender, the IMF. The government in June reduced oil shipments to China, which it has been using as collateral for an estimated USD 20bn worth of loans.

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This agreement has provided Angola with more oil to sell, boosting export earnings at a critical time. Meanwhile, the IMF on 16 September approved the third tranche of funding for Angola under the Extended Fund Facility arrangement agreed in 2018. This originally constituted a USD 3.7bn loans to be paid out over three years until 2021, but the total amount was recently increased to USD 4bn.

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The decision had been delayed, likely owing to concerns over the sustainability of the country’s debt, particularly its repayments to China.

Details of the deal are yet to be released, but early indications suggest that China is likely to have granted further relief to the government (it typically operates on a case-by-case basis and is therefore difficult to predict) and that the IMF is confident the government will continue to demonstrate fiscal prudence. This third tranche entailed a disbursement of USD 1bn.

Mozambique has benefited from the IMF’s rapid credit facility (RCF) granted in response to the pandemic. It has also received extensive support from the EU, which on 2 November pledged EUR 100m (USD 117m) in support of the state budget for the next two years to help the government to cope with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is to be directed towards education, health and social welfare, including activities already underway to minimise the spread of the virus.

Huge help

External support alongside government efforts to improve fiscal management has helped countries to mitigate the immediate impact of the crisis. Indeed, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateral lenders have scrambled to provide debt relief for indebted countries. The World Bank’s Development Committee and the G20 finance ministers in April endorsed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with both the IMF and the World Bank supporting its implementation.

The DSSI suspended debt repayment obligations for around 40 low-income countries to enable them to redirect spending towards the COVID-19 response, including health, social and economic measures. This initially extended until the end of October and has since been renewed for at least another six months. The IMF has also called for private-sector lenders to participate in the initiative.

Meanwhile, for its part, the IMF has extended emergency financing to 33 states in sub-Saharan Africa through its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility. The UN and others have urged it to expand this further and consider cancelling some existing debts, rather than just postponing payments.

China, the continent’s largest creditor and estimated to hold approximately 20% of Africa’s external debt, have considered renegotiating interest-free debts on a bilateral basis, as indicated in the case of Angola. The region’s debt is unevenly distributed, with China believed to account for approximately 33% of Kenya’s debt and as much as 75%-80% of that of Djibouti, underlining a case-by-case approach to negotiation.

Most recently, market optimism on the back of news in November of an apparently effective vaccine has buoyed the oil price, bringing a measure of relief to state coffers in those economies reliant on the commodity for revenue and foreign exchange earnings. Although the oil price rally could be short-lived, and the economic fallout throughout the year will not be mitigated, it will provide some short-term relief for several indebted economies going into 2021.

Not out of the woods

Africa is not hurtling towards a continent-wide debt crisis. Debt levels and the vulnerability of countries vary widely, and mass sovereign defaults will not materialise in 2020 or early 2021. Nevertheless, the overall trajectory is negative.

Pressures elsewhere will rise as several large Eurobonds become due for repayment in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana and Senegal – among others – between 2021 and 2024. Should the price of oil dip below USD 35 per barrel, commodities-reliant economies will have limited ability to ensure fiscal sustainability.

The 2020s are unlikely to be a repeat of the 1990s “lost decade”, but they will almost certainly see debt challenges become increasingly prominent as countries find their room for fiscal manoeuvre ever more limited amid economic pressures.

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Latest News

Amazon joins forces with Enterprise Singapore to help small and medium-sized businesses in Singapore venture overseas

Amazon Singapore is also extending the waiver of professional selling account subscription, fees for new and existing sellers, until 30 June 2021

 

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 28 January 2021 - (NASDAQ:AMZN) - Amazon announced today at the inaugural Amazon Southeast Asia Online Seller Summit 2021 additional resources and support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Singapore to start selling online and expand globally through its stores. Amazon announced that it is extending the waiver of professional selling account subscription fees for new and existing sellers, until 30 June 2021. This support builds on Amazon's current initiatives such as the online seller education series, Seller University, and over 225 free tools and services to help sellers grow their sales in Amazon's stores in Singapore and worldwide.

 

In addition, Amazon is teaming up with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to help local retailers scale globally. Enterprise Singapore will support these efforts through the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) scheme. Support will be capped at S$100,000 per new country, includes support for up to 70% of eligible costs for overseas promotion, overseas business development and overseas country set-up, and gives SMBs the flexibility to expand across new countries at their preferred pace. This is one of several measures which local enterprises can tap on through ESG to grow and diversify their businesses.  More details can be found in ANNEX.

 

"We will double-down on efforts to support our local businesses in gaining e-commerce capabilities and maximizing their growth opportunities from the digital economy. To help companies access customers in new countries, ESG has also been working with Amazon to onboard Singapore sellers to Amazon as a channel for international sales, such as in the US, Canada, and India. Support is available for Singapore companies that are looking to expand to these countries," said Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Chan Chun Sing. 

 

"Small businesses are an essential part of Amazon's DNA. Through the Amazon Southeast Asia Online Seller Summit 2021, we aim to enable more local sellers to reach a global audience through our 20 stores worldwide. Whether they are just getting started or are an experienced seller, Amazon's comprehensive programs and network will help SMBs overcome operational challenges to maximize growth opportunities globally," said Henry Low, Country Manager, Amazon Singapore.

 

The Southeast Asia Online Seller Summit, being held today and tomorrow, has drawn over 3,000 participants who are interested to understand how they can sell with Amazon, scale their businesses, and seize cross-border opportunities. Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Chan Chun Sing, leaders of Amazon Singapore, industry experts, and local business owners selling on Amazon.sg came together on Day 1 to discuss local and regional retail trends and offer insights on how SMBs can 'Start Local, Go Global' with Amazon.

 

Connecting sellers to exchange best practices

As part of the Summit, Amazon hosted a panel of SMB founders to share experiences of growing their business online and their journey with Amazon. Through the support of Amazon's global network and its logistics and inventory solutions such as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), each of them has expanded to serve customers globally -- all from the comfort and safety of their homes.

 

"When I started Rui Smiths in 2014, selecting Amazon as the e-commerce store for my business was a no brainer. Amazon has been offering an unparalleled service that perfectly fits my needs, since my initial days as a new business owner, allowing me to expand internationally from the get-go. In just 4 years, with Amazon, we had hit S$200,000 in sales and were already selling in the US, UK, and Australia," said Debbie Cai, founder, Rui Smiths. "I hope the insights and resources shared at the Summit will help many local sellers like myself grow their business not only in Singapore but also beyond shores for customers everywhere."

 

Local resources for sellers in Singapore to unleash and maximize global growth opportunities

To date, Amazon has provided support to thousands of SMBs keen to sell online with Amazon.sg and its stores globally and continues to help many of them go digital and build thriving businesses. To shine the spotlight on more local retailers, Amazon continues to promote a dedicated "Shop Local" storefront on Amazon.sg, featuring local brands' founding stories and a plethora of products in categories such as home and home improvement, electronics, kitchen and dining, health and personal care, toys and games, groceries and more.

 

Other resources introduced include the Amazon Seller App for local sellers with accounts on Amazon.sg to track sales and manage their business via mobile, the Marketplace Appstore, a one-stop shop to discover third-party applications and services for automating tedious business aspects, and the Seller Forum, a resource for first-hand advice from fellow business owners on selling with Amazon. Sellers can also join the Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand SpurSell on Amazon Singapore Facebook page to connect with the community of sellers on Amazon.sg.

 

These initiatives are furthered by Amazon.sg's ongoing collaboration with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) for the Digital Resilience Bonus, offering eligible SMBs a bonus of up to S$2,500 for selling on e-commerce channels like Amazon. The bonus is available to eligible local retailers until 30 June 2021.  

 

To learn more about the millions of small and medium-sized businesses growing with Amazon, visit: aboutamazon.com/supporting-small-businesses. More information about selling on Amazon can be found here: https://www.amazon.sg/sell.

 

Annex: Empowering SMBs to Start Local, Go Global with the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Scheme

Read Also:  NERC Fines Ibadan Disco N50m for Misuse of CBN Loan

 

SMBs selling on Amazon.sg may receive an international boost through Enterprise Singapore's Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) scheme to partially offset the costs of scaling their business overseas to new countries. Those eligible will receive the following support:

  • Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per company per new country* from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023, that covers:

o   Overseas Promotion (capped at S$20,000)

o   Overseas Business Development (capped at S$50,000)

o   Overseas Set-up (capped at S$30,000)

  • Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas country (e.g. participation in a trade fair)

 

To be eligible, companies should meet the following criteria:

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • New country criteria, i.e. target overseas country whereby the applicant has not exceeded S$100,000 in overseas sales in each of the last three preceding years
  • At least 30% local shareholding
  • Group Annual Sales Turnover of not more than S$100 million; OR Company's Group Employment Size of not more than 200 employees

 

* With effect from 1 April 2020, a new country refers to a target overseas country whereby the applicant company has not exceeded S$100,000 in overseas sales in each of the last three preceding years. The maximum support level is raised from 70% to 80% from 1 November 2020 to 30 September 2021.

 

Interested and eligible SMBs selling on Amazon.sg can apply for the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) scheme via Enterprise Singapore's website here. SMBs can also approach Enterprise Singapore and Amazon for advisory support to develop their internationalisation business plans.

 

To further equip Singapore SMBs with the capabilities to sell overseas via Amazon, Enterprise Singapore is in active discussions with Amazon on new training programmes which include listing optimisation, customer service, and international demand generation. More details will be announced later this year.


About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, and Kindle are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit Amazon.sg.

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

GBG: Six predictions for the financial services and fraud landscape in 2021

By Dev Dhiman, Managing Director of GBG Asia Pacific

 

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 28 January 2021 - 2020 catapulted financial institutions forward in their implementation and optimisation of technology. According to 71% of Asia Pacific (APAC) technology decision-makers the pandemic has caused their organisations to step up digital transformation, while 70% of financial services organisations in APAC  believe innovation is now a "must", reflecting the impact of COVID-19 in shifting consumers and businesses to being digital-first.


When looking ahead at how financial institutions (FIs) will be impacted by these trends in 2021, there are six key ways in which FIs are expected to evolve.


1. COVID-19 drove a dichotomy in fraud technology investment


There is a distinct difference in investment between FIs in countries still heavily impacted by COVID-19, and those in the stages of emerging from the pandemic.


For countries that have yet to enter into a stable recovery period, FIs will be making a more conservative approach to overall investment and sustaining cashflow, but deprioritising investments in fraud technology could leave them unprepared for the potential rise in financial crime and fraud during financial hardship. FIs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, which are seeing reinstatement or continued lockdowns in the country, may become even more hard-pressed for stronger fraud prevention technology to combat an increase in financial crime, as basic fraud systems may not adequately protect them against emerging and complex fraud typologies.


For FIs in Asia Pacific emerging from or preparing to emerge from the pandemic, such as Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, while confidence will be relatively higher, spending will be cautious, as maintaining substantial cashflow will remain a priority. Rather than overhauling fraud and compliance systems, FIs would likely choose to recalibrate, update and optimise their digital onboarding as well as payments and transaction monitoring technology. Investments would be specific to address prominent gaps and data intelligence. Alternative data to onboard more challenging cohorts, creating readiness against cyber endpoint threats, and relationship analysis may be considered to address acquisition growth strategy and growing volumes and complexity of online fraud attacks.


2. Digital customer experience expectations will continue to skyrocket

 

Global ecommerce powerhouses like Alibaba and Amazon and has normalised expectations around customer experience (CX) including same-day delivery services, real-time shipping tracking, and more, in turn significantly impacting customers' CX standards for FIs. A recent study showed seven in 10 customers demonstrated a deeper loyalty to financial services and insurance companies that heavily invest in CX.


In 2021, the industry is already seeing FIs and fintechs race to deliver instantaneous services through new financial products, with GBG's latest research finding 31% of FIs in APAC planning to offer instant bank accounts and instant loans, 29% planning to offer instant credit cards, and 22% planning to offer user voice activated fund transfers and bill payments. To take CX to the next level, there is a probability that the financial services sector will explore replicating successes from other industries, such as retail businesses that have effectively used augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to re-create in-store experiences, which could be used by banks to create virtual in-branch experiences.


3. Cross-vertical collaboration and consumer data drill-down are re-shaping digitalisation standards

 

Collaborations amongst major enterprises in the digital banking space demonstrated the investment across seemingly unlikely industries in working together to effectively serve customers at scale. Last year, for example, Trip.com Group partnered with Standard Chartered, PCCW and HKT to launch a new virtual banking service and Asia's first all-in-one numberless bank card, Mox, while multinational ride hailing company Grab teamed up with Singtel to prepare to launch their own digital banking license in 2022. While both of these examples span multiple industries, they each highlight the impetus among businesses to use business partnerships to gain truly 360-degree views of their customers' needs.


Looking at 2021 and beyond, this collaborative mindset is likely to continue as government and regulatory bodies work together to focus on accelerating digital identity availability, while also teaming up with partners like telco providers, educational institutions and aggregators to create access to more comprehensive and accurate data sets. FIs would become more active in exploring the use and ingestion of incremental data sets, beyond the basic internal data and official sources, to feed into their core fraud engine and enhance fraud detection and prevention.


FIs have already reinvented partnerships to form new market propositions. This openness and innovation would spill over into fraud management and propel them to leverage on an expanded ecosystem to layer their data with intelligence from specialists in location, mobile data, devices, cybersecurity, data co-relation, and IP. This broader and deeper approach will more effectively equip FIs with appropriate fraud prevention capabilities as the world becomes increasingly digital-first.


4. Expanding availability of shorter-term credit offerings across SEA

 

The rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) businesses has disrupted the credit landscape with shorter-term credit services for everyday purchases, faster or no credit checks, instant approvals, and "zero interest". New BNPL players across APAC have been setup and are quickly catching onto opportunities to offer new and more agile types of loans.


FIs need to remain vigilant in how BNPL products are rolled out, credits are distributed, and debts are managed. This ease in obtaining credit can lead to more exposure to higher risk borrowers. FIs focusing on growing their BNPL offerings need to build in stronger measures to onboard consumers who have the ability and intent to pay back what they have borrowed while keeping the standards of BNPL experience to ensure this revenue stream does not go sideways in the long term.


5. Mobile-first technology and data intelligence as fundamental building blocks for dynamic digital onboarding and transacting

 

Mobile devices are widely used to accelerate the digital onboarding and transacting process. FIs are automating the identity verification journey and streamlining biometric and facial verification, document verification and data match altogether in instant KYC.


Today, mobile devices do more than enabling the identity verification process. In Southeast Asia, seven in 10 adults are either "underbanked" or "unbanked"and excluded from many traditional financial services. FIs have begun to ascertain the quality of consumers with limited identity documentation, or thin file clients, leveraging their mobile phones as a personal identity verification device.


Mobile metadata, device usage patterns and SIM card records are alternatives to traditional verification methods, datasets and data sources. These alternatives offer data intelligence that FIs could use to fill gaps in physical records, providing assessment and validation to the authenticity and quality of consumer profiles and borrowing intent of these untapped segments.

 

6. Socially engineered first party fraud and identity crimes taking on a new level of complexity

 

Bringing together the above trends and predictions, the combination of accelerated digital transformation among businesses, skyrocketing consumer usage of social media, ecommerce, ebanking and online platforms, and increased collaboration across FIs and non-bank organisations result in growing opportunities for fraudsters and crime syndicates to mine data.


Consequently, socially engineered first party fraud, identity crimes like synthetic ID and impersonations would take on a new level of detection complexity. FIs have a responsibility to counter these attacks, proactively manage the growing volume of channels where bad actors can access personal information, and guard against financial crime and identity theft. As such threats continue to broaden alongside other industry-wide trends, consumers' expectations of FIs' commitments to protecting and futureproofing their financial services and products will also grow.


Organisations will need to reflect their commitments to customer satisfaction and retention with more sophisticated and agile approaches to fraud prevention and fraud technology investments.


About GBG:

GBG offers a range of solutions that help organisations quickly validate and verify the identity and location of their customers.


Our market-leading technology, data and expertise help our customers improve digital access, deliver a seamless experience, and establish trust so that they can transact quickly, safely and securely with their customers online.


Headquartered in the UK and with over 1,000 team members across 16 countries, we work with 20,000 customers in over 70 countries. Some of the world's best-known businesses rely on GBG to provide digital services and keep the economy moving, from US e-commerce giants to Asia's biggest banks and European household brands.


To find out more about how we help our clients establish trust with their customers, visit www.gbgplc.com/apac, follow us on Twitter @gbgplc or Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand SpurLinkedIn.


Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

Oppa Kim Woo Bin arrives in Singapore!

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 28 January 2021 - DAEBAK! Fans can now meet the one and only figure of Woo-bin for a limited period, right here in Singapore. The popular Korean actor once again joins his co-star Bae Suzy from "Uncontrollably Fond", but this time at Madame Tussauds Singapore!

 

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

To celebrate the opening of the Brand new K-wave zone at Madame Tussauds

 

The world famous wax attraction brought in Kim Woo Bin to celebrate the opening of their brand new K- wave zone, which opened today to the public. Fans can gather around some of their favourite Korean stars, while snapping Insta worthy shots in front of iconic Korean themed sets.

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

 

The eyecatching Cherry Blossom tree takes center stage in the new zone. With cherry blossoms that change colour, this is the perfect spot to bring your date for #couplegoals pics. Missing Korea as much as we do...we've got you. Wander away and pose in front of the hanoks with Kim Woo Bin. Or shoot your boomerangs in front of the pretty cherry blossom flower wall and inspire your friends on where to shoot their next OOTD.


Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur 

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

 

Madame Tussauds Singapore is based at Imbiah Lookout. Come and enjoy the brand-new K-wave zone with the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers. Visit the family fun attraction and get 5 experiences for only 1 ticket. For more information on how to redeem these vouchers and to know what the 5 experiences are, please visit our website www.madametussauds.com/Singapore.


Twitter: @MTsSingapore
Instagram: @MTsSingapore
Facebook: @MadameTussaudsSingapore Hashtag: #MadameTussaudsSG


For high res images: Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spurhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/khx2r1v9o12bn1m/AADTz9_nBt9DK7i3gnm1cNeQa?dl=0


Madame Tussauds

The ultimate celebrity experience and the world's best known and most popular wax attraction. There are currently 23 Madame Tussauds attractions around the world. Each of the attractions is unique and tailored to the host city and visitor demographic to feature both local as well as international figures.

The result of 200 years of expertise and painstaking research every figure takes Madame Tussauds' gifted sculptors a minimum of three months to make, and costs more than $300K (Singapore dollars). Most contemporary figures are also produced following sittings with the celebrities themselves.

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

SugarCRM Launches SugarPredict to Take the Guesswork Out of Sales with AI for All

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - Media OutReach - 28 January 2021 - SugarCRM Inc., the innovator of time-aware CX, today announced the launch of SugarPredict, the first data-fueled AI for CRM. SugarPredict delivers new levels of prediction accuracy without the time, cost, and technical expertise typically required for companies to take advantage of AI.

 

Fifty-two percent of sales leaders say their CRM is costing them lost revenue, according to new research from SugarCRM that examines the lack of customer visibility that plagues most companies. The quality and consistency of the data entered by CRM users can create challenges for basic AI systems. SugarPredict takes a different approach by enriching customer data with additional attributes that results in more comprehensive and consistent AI models. SugarPredict provides accurate predictions, even with limited first-party data, while diligently guarding the privacy and security of company and customer information.

 

"AI can solve a number of sales and marketing barriers today, putting it at the heart of CRM," said Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light. "Sales teams that lean into AI-powered CRM can take advantage of the lead insights and opportunity models that give them a significant competitive advantage." 

 

As the first of many SugarPredict-powered capabilities in Sugar Sell, the technology is being used to take the guesswork out of lead prioritization, lead Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) alignment, and opportunity-to-close-won scoring. SugarPredict analyzes historical account, deal, and company data to accurately predict which leads are most likely to become customers. Lead scoring is based on similarity to historical conversions (converted leads or closed-won opportunities), while ideal customer profile matching identifies leads that are similar to a company's past and current customer bases.

 

"SugarPredict helps companies replace a fragmented, out-of-date, and incomplete picture with a sharply focused understanding of both their customers and business," said Craig Charlton, CEO of SugarCRM. "We've made significant product investments, over the last year, to democratize AI to drive business performance and enable predictability for companies of all sizes."

 

"Like many companies in the manufacturing business Bishop-Wisecarver is always looking for ways to work smarter and faster than the competition", said Niegel Leoncio, CRM Manager for Bishop-Wisecarver. "We are excited about the launch of SugarPredict, which places the power of AI into the hands of sales and service teams so they can drive better results and a better customer experience."   

 

SugarPredict leverages Sugar's time-aware CX platform which provides a full historical record of all change events related to customers and customer-facing processes. SugarPredict for sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service applications is based on technology from last summer's acquisition of Node.io. SugarPredict is free for Sugar Sell customers and will roll out to Sugar Market and Sugar Serve customers later this year.

 

Learn more about SugarPredict here.


About SugarCRM

SugarCRM's time-aware sales, marketing and service software helps companies deliver a high-definition (HD-CX) customer experience. For mid-market and enterprise companies that want  a CX-driven platform, Sugar gives teams the time-aware customer data they need to achieve a clear view of the customer and reach new levels of business performance and predictability, and increase customer lifetime value.

 

More than 4,500 companies in 120 countries rely on SugarCRM. Based in Silicon Valley, SugarCRM is backed by Accel-KKR. 

Dicing with debt – sovereign risks rise in Africa but crisis not imminent - Brand Spur

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